Friday, January 30, 2009
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Penn State coach Joe Paterno, 82, recently signed a three-year extension that runs through 2011.
Bowden’s 382 career wins are one fewer than Paterno, the all-time leader among major college coaches.
Who will end up the career wins leader? Will one of these legendary coaches actually have to die on the sideline before he calls it quits? The odds of that are looking more and more likely.
DMB can do its share of rocking, but I predict the Avetts will blow those hippies off the stage. Seriously, if you have not heard these guys, start now. Like, right here.
Monday, January 26, 2009
Do you think he'll play "Dancing in the Dark" and pull a random girl up on stage to dance with him? Might that girl be Courteney Cox? Just think of the magic they could recreate.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
"Paul Blart: Mall Cop" was the top-grossing movie this weekend, taking the No. 1 spot for the second straight week.
Seriously?!? Granted, it didn't have a ton of new-release competition. But it has grossed $65 million in 10 days.
Now, you'll have to excuse me. I'm going to go throw up.
Analogy: "Good Night and Good Luck" meets "All the President's Men"
Synopsis (from RottenTomatoes.com): Academy Award-winning director Ron Howard brings to the screen writer Peter Morgan's ("The Queen," "The Last King of Scotland") electrifying battle between Richard Nixon, the disgraced president with a legacy to save, and David Frost, a jet-setting television personality with a name to make, in the untold story of the historic encounter that changed both.
Soundtrack: Yes, musical score by Hans Zimmer ("Gladiator," "Rain Main").
Review: It's a rare type of thriller that, despite a lack of "action," captivates the audience from start to finish.
As in all great movies, the captivating pull comes from several sources: the subject matter (which, as a journalist, perhaps intrigues me more than your average Joe), the film-making methods and the acting performances.
Frank Langella and Michael Sheen reprise their respective roles as Richard Nixon and David Frost from the stage production of "Frost/Nixon." Langella won a Tony Award for his portrayal of Tricky Dick on Broadway and now is nominated for an Academy Award for his work in the film -- and deservedly so.
Entering the film, most people already have an opinion about Richard Nixon and his disgraceful exit from the White House. But Langella's Nixon is not just a caricature of the man. He is not merely a good Nixon impressionist; he is the man. A real man, as believable a performance as you'll see at the movies this year.
Several times throughout the film, which is presented as a pseudo-documentary, the Frost/Nixon interviews are compared to a boxing match. The wily veteran champion vs. the optimistic contender. "No holds barred," is how Nixon puts it. Well said, Mr. President.
Trailer Addict has the Japanese "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" trailer, which, aside from having a Japanese voice over and captions, is completely different than the U.S.-released trailer.
Have I mentioned that I'm stoked about this movie? I know, I know. Big dork.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Get your dancing shoes on and step out with this exclusive dance workout inspired by the #1 dance movie of all time, DIRTY DANCING! Now you can learn to move like Baby and Johnny with original dance steps and soundtrack favorites from the legendary movie. Have the time of your life and get fit to Johnny's Mambo, Penny's Grapevine and so much more! What are you waiting for? Get out of the corner, baby, and dance!I also believe this is more proof that Patrick Swayze, despite his illness, is having a helluva 2009. First, the Barbara Walters interview, then a new TV show called "The Beast," and now he apparently has a book deal in the works. Like I've always said, the more Swayze, the better. "Pain don't hurt!"
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Some of my favorite movie scenes that took place in a bathroom. And, go:
The Matrix: Watching this movie over the weekend was the inspiration for this random list. The scene: Morpheus and Agent Smith tangle in a dilapidated bathroom. Do you remember the first time you saw this movie and it blew your freaking mind? I wish I could get that feeling back.
The Bourne Ultimatum: Jason Bourne kills a trained assassin with a hand towel. The look on Julia Stiles' face when she walks into the bathroom after Matt Damon has strangled that dude is just priceless.
Witness: Poor little Amish Samuel, in the big city train station, sees some crazy stuff go down through the crack in the bathroom stall. Tension is high as he dodges the dirty cop to escape. This movie totally holds up 25 years later.
The Karate Kid: Daniel rigs a hose in the boys' room to soak Johnny while he's in the can and rocking out to his Walkman, thus unleashing the wrath of the skeleton costume-clad Cobra Kai. Beware of Zabka!
Out of Sight: Perhaps the sexiest dream sequence in cinema history, a fully-clothed and gun-toting Karen Sisco (Jennifer Lopez, before she was JLo) climbs into the bathtub with con man Jack Foley (George Clooney). Quite steamy -- pun intended. Hey-oh!
A League of Their Own: A drunk Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks) bursts into the locker room and proceeds to take one of the longest pisses in recorded history. To quote All the Way Mae (Madonna, in her finest acting role), "That was some peeing!"
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
ABC chose not to do a crawl or any other words on the screen during Obama's speech, Aretha Franklin's performance (side note: what was up with that hat?) or the super-group of orchestra titans' arrangement.
Fox News also did not have a crawl or other words on the screen and cut to G.W. Bush at least three times during Obama's speech.
Headline News, however, had a crawl and random headlines about Obama during the whole thing. Immediately following the speech, HLN cut to several talking heads, barely acknowledging the musical performances and things going on.
I can't decide which was the "best" broadcast method, but it was interesting to see, nonetheless.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
The Diamondback will be the tallest, fastest and meanest roller coaster at Kings Island. The ride will stand 230 feet at its highest point with a first drop of 215 feet at a 74-degree angle and reach speeds in excess of 80 miles per hour. The ride features 10 vertical drops overall, including drops of 193, 131, 129, 110 and 106 feet, two helixes -- one at 323 degrees and the other at 287 degrees -- and a spectacular splashdown ending. The ride experience on the Diamondback will last more than three heart-pounding minutes.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
This also gives me a chance to post one of my favorite songs/music videos. Behold, the genius of "It's Like That."
The other 2009 inductees, if you care, are Metallica, Jeff Beck, Bobby Womack and Little Anthony & the Imperials. Still mad at Metallica for making my illegal music downloads, well, even more illegal. Intellectual property rights, schmintellectual property rights. Jerks.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Clearly, this movie was not made in the U.S. (it's a British production that came out this summer in the UK and will be released here later this month). If it was, the film studio would never have the balls to actually call it "Donkey Punch." It would have been called something like, "Trouble at Sea" or "The Yacht Club."
Late in his career, Henderson was shopping around for a team who would take a chance on his aging legs, and called San Diego GM Kevin Towers, who signed Henderson twice, to see if the Padres had any interest. “This is Rickey calling on behalf of Rickey,’” Henderson said. “Rickey wants to play baseball.”
In 2007, Henderson, sitting in the stands at AT&T Park, caught a foul ball and refused to give it up to a nearby kid despite calls from his fellow spectators. “Everybody was asking me for the ball,” Henderson said. “I said, You’re not getting this ball. I always wanted to get a foul ball. This one’s going on a shelf at home.”
Did I mention that his induction speech is going to be the greatest ever?!
Monday, January 12, 2009
2. Slumdog Millionaire
3. The Dark Knight
4. Iron Man
5. Role Models
Note I: I didn't call this list "the best films of 2008." Clearly, "Role Models" isn't going to garner any Oscar attention or anything, but it made me laugh more than any other movie this year, so that has to count for something, right?
Note II: There are still a handful of movies that technically came out in 2008 that I have not seen yet, but I'm not sure when I'm going to get the chance.
Here's comedian David Cross doing his best Rickey impression.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Michael Phelps is back where he made Olympic history. Don’t look for much swimming. This time, he’s in Beijing to do TV commercials for automaker Mazda, which is reported to be paying him more than $1 million to endorse the brand in China. It’s believed to be the largest single sponsorship deal for a foreign celebrity in the country.
Judging by Phelps' other quasi-acting stints -- his SNL hosting gig -- the Chinese should be thankful he cannot speak their language.
Oh wait, he used Rosetta Stone to learn Chinese before the Olympics, or so he claims in his ridiculously bad commercial. Well, crap. Sorry, Chinese. With any luck, he'll just stick to his strengths, i.e. standing around without a shirt on.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Hall has made Dexter into the most complex of characters, at once gaining our sympathy, understanding and trust despite his often deranged dark side. He has made it possible to root for a serial killer with gruesome murder tools. Not that I always feel OK about those rooting efforts, which is just one moral conundrum on a show full of them.
And with all of these moral quandaries, it's no surprise that each episode requires a significant amount of emotional energy. It also has forever altered my view of procedural crime dramas. Rather than the usual "Law and Order" formula -- each episode involves one case that is wrapped up with a nice little bow at the end -- "Dexter" gives a more realistic depiction of how crime investigations play out, i.e. sometimes they take a long time to solve.
So, long story short, Michael C. Hall and "Dexter" deserve any and all awards that are available. Golden Globes, I'm looking at you.
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Oddly enough, the prescription in those bronzed lenses is actually less powerful than the ones JoePa wears during football games. True fact.
Penn State police are looking out for Joe Paterno’s glasses – the bronzed ones that were perched on the statue of the iconic football coach that stands outside Beaver Stadium.
Vandals apparently cut the glasses off just above the base of the ears of the 7-foot sculpture between 11 a.m. Friday and 11 a.m. Saturday, when a police officer noticed the damage.
The school plans to replace the glasses, though assistant athletic director Jeff Nelson said it is unclear how much that might cost.
The statue, which weighs more than 900 pounds, was unveiled in Nov. 2001.
I wonder how many Bowflex commercials I've seen in my lifetime? How long has that thing been around? And, if it has been turning enough profit to be in existence that long, why have I never met anyone who actually owns a Bowflex?
Turns out, the beloved Bowflex first came on the scene in 1986. That's some real endurance for a piece of exercise equipment primarily sold through cheesy infomercials.
On that note, let's look at a couple other exercise blasts from the past:
The Thigh Master: Sadly, we had one of these. I never once saw any member of my family use it, but I did use it one time: In eighth grade, I did an oral presentation on Suzanne Somers' book about child abuse, and I held it up as a cheap prop. And of course, I got an A.
Tae Bo: Remember that Billy Blanks guy? He was effing scary. Turns out he's still making it happen on the exercise scene. Who knew?
Cindy Crawford Workout: Pretty sure the only people who bought this were creepy dudes who, um, er, ah, well, ya know. Also, I have to admit I've never donned 5-inch wide hoop earrings while working out. Guess that why she's Cindy Crawford and I am not.
Fitness Made Simple: Oh, how I miss you, John Basedow. His freakishly tanned skin, monstrous pecs and feathery locks were a staple of late-night TV in Iowa. I have yet to see him grace my set since. Sigh.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Will Arnett was believed to have been a holdout, too, but he seems to have come around. "I can't wait to strap that fake hand back on -- wait, which guy did I play?" Arnett told EW. "It'll be fun to get back together with everyone and work on it."
So, now the question is, what will the AD movie actually be about?
Fancast recently talked with series creator Mitch Hurwitz about these issues and other burning Bluth family questions.
I Love You, Man (Jan. 16): A previous post already expressed my love of Paul Rudd. Looks to be a much-needed boost of comedy amid the usual January dreck and Oscar-bait films.
The Jonas Brothers 3D Concert Experience (Feb. 27): Yes, this one is a joke. Or is it?
The Watchmen (March 6, please, God, please!): Will this film even see the light of day in 2009? Fingers crossed that the legal battle between Warner Bros. and 20th Century Fox gets resolved soon-ish so we can revel in its all-but-certain glory this spring.
Public Enemies (July 1): The word "badass" comes to mind. A cat-and-mouse thriller set in the Depression, directed by Michael Mann and starring Johnny Depp and Christian Bale. It has to be good, right?
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (July 17): Still a little miffed they pushed back this release date eight friggin' months, but with any luck, the extra time will help make the movie that much better. The beauty of this HP book was how it balanced the teen themes (i.e. first loves, raging hormones and such) with the more-than-usual dose of heavy themes (good vs. evil, death and betrayal). Can't wait to see how it transfers to the big screen.
Where the Wild Things Are (Oct. 16): Spike Jonze has been in production of this adaptation of the classic children's tale since 2006. Hope it's worth the wait. Let's just say Jonze has never disappointed me before.
Inglorious Basterds (August-ish?): Quentin Tarantino's latest offering, starring Brad Pitt. Tarantino ventures into some new territory, tackling the story of a group of Jewish-American soldiers terrorizing the Third Reich in Nazi-occupied France during World War II. But one thing's for sure: copious amounts of violence will ensue. Nice.
Monday, January 5, 2009
ANALOGY: "Big Fish" meets "Forrest Gump"
SYNOPSIS (from official site): "I was born under unusual circumstances." And so begins “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” adapted from the 1920s story by F. Scott Fitzgerald about a man who is born in his eighties and ages backwards. We follow his story set in New Orleans from the end of World War I in 1918, into the 21st century, following his journey that is as unusual as any man’s life can be. It is a time traveler’s tale of the people and places he bumps into along the way, the loves he loses and finds, the joys of life and the sadness of death, and what lasts beyond time.
SOUNDTRACK: Yes. Score by Alexandre Desplat. The first disc is the movie score, the second disc's tracks are lines from the movie and other non-score songs (i.e. "Dear Old Southland" by Louis Armstrong).
REVIEW: A beautifully crafted, if a bit long-winded, story of life, love and, more often than not, death.
Brad Pitt (Benjamin Button) turns in his most well-rounded performance, Cate Blanchett (Daisy) is lovely as usual, and Tilda Swinton (Elizabeth Abbott) is in top form. One of the film's true marvels is how realistically all of the characters age (or, in Pitt's case, get younger). Many hours in the makeup chair paid off.
I was not completely sold on the convention of a dying Daisy having her daughter Caroline (Julia Ormond) read to her from Benjamin's diary as Hurricane Katrina is approaching New Orleans. It was the only part of the film that felt cheesy, a bit contrived and overly sentimental. That said, the entire film easily could have veered into that realm. And in another director's hands, it may have turned into a sickenly bittersweet opus, but David Fincher ("Fight Club," "Zodiac") kept it grounded by mixing in the right dose of comic relief, visual effects and reality.
The film focuses on the repeating themes of growing old and death, which of course, go hand in hand for everyone. Well, everyone except Benjamin. All in all, it's a visually stunning tear-jerker that forces its audience to consider those touchy themes in a new light.